“If only my income was greater,” or “If only I had a million bucks.” Sound familiar?
Well, even if one of those things was true, you’d probably do the same thing you’re doing now: Spend too much!
It is no secret that many Americans spend much more than they earn. That is why household credit card debt is through the roof.
By contrast, the relatively few great savers in our nation let their money work for them. They build up wealth over a long period of time, even if they don’t make a great salary.
Seeing modest savings grow into a financial fortune is a joy the habitual spender never will know.
Here are five possible reasons why you can’t save a dollar — and why your money will never work for you unless you change now:
1. You will not face your situation
When was the last time you sat down and really assessed your financial situation?
If it has been a long while, take action now. Sometime in the next two weeks, do an in-depth financial evaluation.
Start by reviewing your bank statements. Where is your money really going? Much of it probably goes to pay bills, but does the rest go into a savings account or investments? Or do you waste it?
While it’s fine to treat yourself, it’s easy to get carried away. It is not financially wise to both enhance your nail polish collection with each paycheck and continuously head to the spa. You need to make a choice.
Regardless of where the problem lies, now is the time to get to the root of it and start making changes.
During your financial self-evaluation, look at your credit card statements and see how much you actually owe. Pay special attention to the amount of cash you are throwing away each month on interest.
Once you have a clear picture of how much you owe, start tracking your expenses. Keep receipts for every purchase you make in the next 30 days.
At the end of that period, scrutinize your receipts. That should give you a clearer idea of the problem areas.
Then, you’ll be ready to set up a new spending plan. Check out “How to Develop an Effortless Budget You’ll Stick To.”
2. You refuse to discipline your desires
Perhaps your philosophy is “If I want it, I buy it” — even if your bank account advises otherwise. After all, you work hard, so why not enjoy life?
Unfortunately, there’s a slight problem with that approach: While tomorrow is not promised to any of us, adopting a short-term mentality toward your money is nothing short of foolhardy.
If you spend like a maniac now, with a reckless disregard for your wallet, you will surely pay for it many times over later on.
Take a look at “5 Ways to Game Yourself Into Saving Cash” to get back on track.
3. You are addicted to debt
Many people never learn to make do with what they have. Instead, they create a posh lifestyle supplemented by any and every ounce of credit on which they can get their hands.
As a result, they have a staggering amount of debt.
I’m not suggesting you should live in a hovel or a dive. But you must learn how to be disciplined with your money before you borrow from a credit card company.
If credit card debt seems like a normal part of life, you may have a problem. Still in doubt? Take a look at “10 Signs You’re a Credit Card Addict.”
4. You let the wrong things motivate you
As humans, we are wired to want more. But what is your motivation for coveting material goods?
Are you one of those people who always eyes the proverbial Joneses, looking at the new car parked in their driveway?
Imagine for a moment that it is you who owns that shiny new thing. Do you really think it would make you happy? Is your desire for the new car sincere? Or is it simply envy of a lifestyle displayed by the aforementioned neighbor or your favorite celebrity on TV?
If you want material goods for the wrong reasons — such as to fill a hole in your soul — no amount of money will ever be enough.
And remember, things aren’t always how they appear. The family you envy could be robbing Peter to pay Paul, and falling deeper into debt to live in their dream home and drive that car.